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Editor Meets Fitness: Total Woman

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

These Fargo winters aren’t easy. It’s not hard to slip into a lazy routine and put on a few pounds that you think will be hidden well under a large parka. I especially know the struggle of not wanting to work out. On my daily morning phone-check, the sight of a below-freezing number from my weather app taunts me. In this situation, I barely want to emerge from my flannel sheets, much less go out and exercise. To be honest, I barely want to hit the gym when it’s 75 and sunny!

Fitness and taking care of your body are important though. Just because the weather is sickening doesn’t mean your body should take a hit as well. As someone who is not an avid gym-goer, I’ve decided to test out a few alternative workouts throughout town.

If I can do it, so can you. Get out there and have fun with it! Staying fit doesn’t always mean having to spend an hour on the stair stepper. Here are some fun, adventurous workouts that will make you look forward to breaking a sweat this winter.

Total Woman: Pound Fit

How does a nurse go from manning hospitals to teaching pole fitness classes? Pam Thorson came about alternative fitness upon getting tired of boring, traditional fitness classes that were painful for her knees. She knows from experience that each individual has their own personal health problems. This, plus her nursing background, allows her to run the studio with a focus on overall wellness, rather than just dropping pounds and firming muscles.

Pam’s vision of a studio was one where classes could intentionally be kept small. The smaller class sizes allow for personal attention to each person and the instructors are able to give students adjustments based on their individual needs. As someone who has had her own journey with various injuries and ailments, this mission was comforting to me. Yes, the classes would push me, but Pam assured me that they would not make me do anything that was going to be a detriment to my ongoing move to a healthier lifestyle.

Maybe someday I’ll feel bold enough to try a pole fitness class that the studio is so known for, but for this trial run I was intrigued by “POUND Fit.” Total Woman describes this class as:

“Using lightly weighted drumsticks engineered specifically for exercising, POUND transforms drumming into an incredibly effective way of working out. Instead of listening to music, you become the music in this exhilarating full-body workout that combines cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and Pilates-inspired movements.”

The class is designed for all levels of fitness and each move throughout the class can be adapted to fit your own abilities and stamina. Before the class, Pam warned me that I wouldn’t get out of the class dry…it was going to be a sweaty time.

While deep down I was nervous to put myself out there, those fears were blocked by how warm and welcoming the whole environment was. I didn’t know any of the nine women enrolled in the class with me, but I felt like we were all in this together. You could tell no one was ashamed to take a breather, grab some water or do a step in a modified way.

Before we began, the instructor said to us, “Don’t be afraid to mess up. There are no mistakes, only drum solos.” This statement really set the pace of what the feel of the class would be like. We all laughed along with each other as we tried to get the hang of it. In addition to this camaraderie, the class is done in low lighting, creating a veil of privacy. The darkness allows you to focus on yourself rather than watching your neighbor, which goes both ways. You can feel confident knowing no one is watching you too carefully.

All this being said, this was not an easy class. The 45 minutes were jam-packed with continuous movements and focuses on various muscle groups. The class uses bright green drumsticks and echoes drumming motions. Clacking the sticks together in rhythm and beating them onto the ground is invigorating, as well as a great stress reliever. “Sometimes if I have a frustrating day, I like to step into a [POUND] class and just let it all out,” said Pam.

What really helped this class move along was the music. Pam noted that the studio has music licenses so they are always playing the most current, hot hits, not just stock music or covers. The songs in combination with the aura of positive energy provided the perfect atmosphere for letting loose, getting pumped, toning up and generally just rocking out and having a great time.

I’ve never finished a fitness class feeling so fulfilled. I was feeling the burn from the very start, but the upbeat music and the dance-like movements kept things fresh and I never felt bored or too focused on the muscle burns I was feeling. In the end, I was sweating and walking in a stiff waddle, but I felt refreshed and like I really accomplished something.

What to Wear

This class is done barefoot, so no need to worry about purchasing new workout shoes. Everyone in my class was wearing a variation on leggings and a tank top, so no specialty gear is needed whatsoever.

What You’ll Feel the Next Day

Before I even left the studio, my legs were shaking and sore. The flight upstairs up to my townhouse was a struggle, but it was a good type of sore. I could feel that my muscles got a good, deep burn out of this class.

Other Class Offerings

  • Intro to Pole
  • Beginner Pole Series
  • Progressive Pole Series
  • Body and Band
  • Full Figured and Fabulous
  • Private Parties!

Total Woman

508 Oak St. N., Unit A, Fargo

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Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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